Take part in the Being Human treasure trail

Download your treasure map here or pick one up from one of our activities.

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Collect a sticker after completing each activity. If you get at least 5 stickers you can pick up a prize and certificate in the John Lennon Art and Design Building (Saturday) or in the World Museum (Sunday).

Being Human in the City

Saturday 9 September, 11am-4pm

On Saturday a series of activities will take place in the city of Liverpool. ‘Being Human’ is where science meets art. ‘Being Human’ can mean many things to different people and our activities will get you thinking about humans from all different angles – including art, poetry, the spoken word or the biological concept of what a human being is, what sets us apart from others and how we have evolved into the humans we are today. Join us in inspirational venues across the city to explore different perspectives on what it means to be human.

Sing Yourself Happy

Venue: Liverpool Central Library, Saturday 9 September, 30 minute sessions starting at 1pm, 1:45pm and 2:30pm

Singing is one of the things that unites human cultures across the world – in every corner of the globe people sing to mark special occasions, celebrate or just have fun. Scientists have shown that group singing improves wellbeing, relationships, community cohesion and even health. Come along and sing songs with us and learn more about humanity’s rich singing tradition.

Audience: Families


Venue: Liverpool Central Library, Saturday 9 September, 1pm-3pm

What do your fingerprints say about you? Have your fingerprints taken by forensic scientists and find out!

Audience: Families

Life in the City

Venue: Paradise Street, Saturday 9 September, 1pm-3pm

Cities first developed several thousand years ago and now more and more of us live in cities. Come and find out about life in the city. How do humans live in the city? What is the effect of city life on our health and wellbeing? Is there such a thing as an ‘ideal city’?  Come and find out more from our geographers about the best place to live.

Audience: Families

Facial Recognition

Venue: Liverpool School of Art and Design Face Lab, Saturday 9 September, 1pm-3pm

Come along to the John Lennon Art and Design Building to see the fascinating way in which faces are recognised and scanned alongside a display on digital face modelling. 

Audience: Families

In Civvies

Venue: FACT, Saturday 9 September, 11am-1pm

What does a veteran look like? This workshop, led by Dr Emma Murray, brings local veterans and the public together to explore personal images of life after the military.

Audience: Adults and youth

Design Yourself

Venue: Liverpool School of Art and Design Fab Lab, Saturday 9 September, 1pm-3pm

If 3D printing and how items are created interests you, then this event is right up your street! Pop along to the Liverpool School of Art and Design to see for yourself!

Audience: Families

Public Conference Exhibition

Venue: John Lennon Art and Design Building, Studio 1, 4pm-5pm

From 8-10 September the British Association of Biological Anthropologists and Osteoarchaeologists is holding its annual conference at Liverpool John Moores University. The conference will open its doors to the public from 4pm-6pm. During the Public Exhibition from 4pm-5pm you will be able to ask scientists questions about their research and visit some of our exhibitors, such as 3D printing companies and publishers.

Discovery and Identification of Richard III

We will take you on a journey from the discovery to the identification of Richard III, the ‘King in the Car Park’. This is your chance to see a complete, life-size, 3D replica of Richard III's remains, discover how we were able to learn about Richard's life and death from his skeleton and how we can be so sure that these remains really are Richard.

With Alison Brough, Caroline Wilkinson and Turi King from Liverpool John Moores University and the University of Leicester.

Forensic Anthropology and Skeleton2go

Forensic anthropology is the study of human remains that are part of a criminal or legal investigation. The main job of a forensic anthropologist is to identify a person from their remains after they are no longer easily recognisable. So how do we do this? How can we tell if someone was male or female, old or young? Can we figure out what their ancestry was? Come and find out for yourself! At Liverpool John Moores University, we are also developing new teaching tool, Skeleton2Go, to help students become competent Forensic Anthropologists. Come and get a sneak preview of what Skeleton2Go involves.

With Alison Brough, Matteo Borrini, and Constantine Eliopoulos from Liverpool John Moores University.

Virtual Modelling and 3D Printing Human Bones from CT Scans

3D technology offers an exciting new way to print all kinds of things – even realistic replicas of human bones! Find out how we can create 3D copies of bones, see the printed versions for yourself and see whether you think they look realistic. If you were part of a jury, do you think they would they help you understand a forensic case better than just pictures? Could we use copies of bones to take measurements for research and so protect the precious real museum specimens from damage?

With Rachael Carew, Ruth Morgan and Carolyn Rando from the Department of Security and Crime Science, Centre for the Forensic Sciences and Institute of Archaeology at University College London.

Drones and Cultural Heritage

Did you know that we can use drones to help record and protect archaeology and our cultural heritage? Talk to experts about the kinds of things we can use drone technology for, and see some examples of the kinds of work drones are being used for when studying the past.

Isabelle De Groote, Frederic Bezombes, Ashleigh Wiseman and Alex Moore from Liverpool John Moores University.

The Hips DO lie: What the Human Skeleton Tells Us About Childbirth

Human hip bones are in the middle of a kind of tug of war – humans give birth to babies with unusually big brains compared with other animals, but we also walk on just two feet and our hips must be specially adapted for that too. This put conflicting demands on our skeleton. As a result, childbirth can be long, painful, and without modern medicine, dangerous for the mother and child. Find out what is unusual about human childbirth and how we can learn about the evolution and past risks of childbirth from studying human skeletons.

With Sarah-Louise Decrausaz, Jane E. Williams, Mary S. Fewtrell; Jay T. Stock and Jonathan C.K. Wells, from the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge and the Childhood Nutrition Research Centre at University College London Institute of Child Health.

A Biography from Bones: A Story of Dis/ability in Roman Dorset

We can study ancient skeletons from a scientific point of view, but what was the lives of those people actually like? How did they experience the world? By combining studies of the skeletons, archaeological finds and historical records, we can create a window into the lives of the people whose skeletons we find. Using the example of a young Roman woman who had a rare form of dwarfism, join us in imagining what her life was like. Would she have experienced the same treatment and had similar experiences to a young woman with dwarfism today?

With Stephanie Evelyn-Wright from the University of Southampton.

The Juveniles of St Augustine the Less, Bristol (1983 – 1984): A Study of Commingled Remains

Often we don't know as much about the lives of children in the past as we do about the lives of adults. People didn't tend to write about what children did as much as they wrote about adults, and until recently a lot of archaeological research has tended to focus on adult skeletons. We will show you how taking a closer look at children's and adolescents' skeletons from the site of St Augustine the Less, Bristol, can tell us about their lives and help fill this gap in our knowledge.

With Kiran Hussain Shiylah and Karina Gerdau from the Faculty of Science and Technology, Bournemouth University 

The Development of Ancestor Worship in the Andes

The Inca Empire (AD1438-1533), which stretched from Ecuador to northern Chile in South America, had a complex religion including worshipping mummies of their ancestors. In fact, these mummies played an active role in society, and were asked to help make decisions about important thing like war and politics! Where did these beliefs and rituals about the powers of the ancestors come about? What were the mummies like and where were they kept? Join us to find out!

With Jonathan Lim and Karina Gerdau from Bournemouth University

Your Heritage, Your Skeleton: Dig it from the Sand, Build it from Lego – Become a Bioarchaeologist for an Hour

Come explore your own skeleton and those of your ancestors – your heritage. Dig with us, uncover bones under the sand and explore cultural burial practices. Build skeletons (bones and teeth) with us from Lego, exploring the structure and form of healthy and diseased bones – or culturally modified crania. Make a story, find meaning. Become a bioarchaeologist!

With Kirsi Lorentz from The Cyprus Institute, Science and Technology in Archaeology Research Centre

Metal Working in Etruscan Populonia: Preliminary data from Anthropological Study

Think that pollution is a fairly modern problem caused by modern industry and technology? Think again! This fascinating case of pre-Roman skeletons from Italy demonstrates how we can tell that people were involved in metal working over 2,000 years ago, and the effects this had on their environment and bones. Food for thought when we consider the impact humans have on our environment and our own health.

With Paolo Mariani Pier, Stefano Genovesi, Carolina Megale, Andrea Camilli and Matteo Borrini from the Università degli Studi di Firenze,Progetto Archeodig, Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio per le provincie di Pisa e Livorno, and Liverpool John Moores University.

Age and Health During Childhood Years Assessed from CT and Radiographic Images of Archaeological Skeletons

You might already know that CT scans are often used to help diagnose illness in hospitals, but they can also be used to tell us about health in the past. Come and see the new kinds of information CT scans can tell us about archaeological skeletons, from periods of illness to how old someone was when they died.

With Charlotte Primea from the University of Dundee.

3D Imaging of the Earliest Human Cancers

8 million people die from cancer each year – yet many people think it is a modern disease. We have found that the origins of cancer in the human family go back much further, to at least 1.7 million years ago in a human ancestor (hominin) from Swartkrans Cave, South Africa. Together with fossil tumours from Malapa and Rising Star caves, our diagnoses have only been made possible by using state-of-the-art synchrotron and micro-computed tomography. This activity will explain what these techniques are, how we diagnose of fossil tumours, demonstrate what they means in evolutionary context, and allow you to explore digital 3D models of these traces of fossilised disease for yourself!

With Patrick Randolph-Quinney; Edward Odes; Maryna Steyn, Jacqueline Smilg, Tanya N. Augustine and Lee R Berger from the School of Forensic and Applied Sciences at the University of Central Lancashire, and the School of Anatomical Sciences, School of Radiation Sciences and the Evolutionary Studies Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.

3D Imaging Human Remains

3D imaging and printing are used more and more in science (as in everyday life!), and have lots of advantages for teaching, research and communicating information to the public. But while it is easy to get excited about how fantastic 3D images, videos or printouts look and the new things we might do with them, could there be a down side to this technology? Join us to see the great things that can be done with 3D methods when studying human skeletons, but also to see what you think about some of the potential problems. For example, if we make a 3D copy of a human bone, who owns that copy? Who should be allowed to used it? These are important questions, and we want to hear your opinions!

With Sian E. Smith and Cara S. Hirst from the Centre for the Forensic Sciences and Institute of Archaeology, University College London 

Phytoliths from Dental Calculus at the Medieval leprosarium of St. Mary Magdalen, Winchester

Your dentist might have removed plaque (also called tartar or dental calculus) from your teeth for you. However, did you know that plaque from ancient peoples' teeth (who didn't have the benefit of modern dentistry!) can help us discover what they ate and the medicines they took? In this fascinating example of skeletons from a Medieval leprosy hospital from Winchester, discover how analysing plaque can tell us how they used herbs to try to treat their illness and help them feel better. We know that some of these herbs did actually work to reduce pain and swelling and provide much needed vitamins, so while these people didn't have access to modern medicines, some of these ancient remedies probably really did help them!

With Jordan A. Snyder from Durham University

Public Lecture – Human Origins: Where Are We Now?

John Lennon Art and Design Building Lecture Theatre, 5pm-6pm

A public talk by world-renowned palaeoanthropologist, Professor Chris Stringer, on how a host of recent new discoveries are changing our view about how our species evolved.

Book your free ticket